Ukraine banned Russia’s contender at Eurovision, Yulia Samoylova, from entering the country

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The ban is believed to be related to the wheelchair-bound singer’s performance at a concert in Crimea in 2015, after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and considers the peninsular its sovereign territory. Ukraine considers Crimea illegally occupied territory and reserves the right to impose a travel ban on anyone who visits it without obtaining appropriate permission from Kiev first. Samoylova has toured in Russia-annexed Crimea without entering it by going through the border with the Ukrainian mainland. Samoylova’s entry for this year’s competition is called Flame is Burning. Eurovision 2017 will be held in Kiev between May 9 and 13. Jamala, the Ukrainian winer contestant in 2016, won for “1944”, a song about Stalin’s wartime deportation of the Tatars that many saw as a jab at Russia. The Eurovision song contest , an apolitical festival, erupted now into a political dispute. Tje Moscow reacted. “This is yet another openly cynical and inhuman act by the authorities in Kiev,” Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told the state news agency Tass. The European Broadcasting Union, which organizes Eurovision, said in a statement that it would negotiate with Ukraine on Samoylova’s entry.

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